The story of our family...for my sons

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Countess Elizabeth de Bohun Fitzalan

Elizabeth de Bohun, Countess of Arundel, Countess of Surrey, my 17th great grandmother (c.1350- 3 April 1385), was the first wife of Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel, Earl of Surrey, (1346- 21 September 1397 Tower Hill, Cheapside, London), a powerful English nobleman and military commander in the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. She was the mother of his seven children.

Family and lineage
Elizabeth de Bohun was born around 1350, the daughter of William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton and Elizabeth de Badlesmere. Her older brother Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford married Joan Fitzalan, a sister of the 11th Earl of Arundel, by whom he had two daughters. Elizabeth had a half-brother Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March by her mother's first marriage to Sir Edmund Mortimer.

Her paternal grandparents were Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford and Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, daughter of King Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile. Her maternal grandparents were Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 1st Baron Badlesmere and Margaret de Clare.

Elizabeth's parents both died when she was young, her mother having died in 1356, and her father in 1360.

Marriage and children
On 28 September 1359, by Papal dispensation, Elizabeth married Richard Fitzalan, who succeeded to the earldoms of Arundel and Surrey upon the death of his father, Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel.

At the coronation of King Richard II, Richard carried the crown. In the same year, 1377, he was made Admiral of the South and West. The following year, 1378, he attacked Harfleur, but was repelled by the French.

Fitzalan allied himself with the King's uncle Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, who was married to Fitzalan's niece Eleanor de Bohun, who was also his wife's niece. The two men eventually became members of the Council of Regency, and formed a strong and virulent opposition to the King. This would later prove fatal to both men.

Richard and Elizabeth had seven children:

1. Thomas Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel, Earl of Surrey KG (13 Oct1381- 13 Oct 1415), married 26 November 1405, Beatrice, illegitimate daughter of King John I of Portugal and Inez Perez Esteves. The marriage was childless.
2. Lady Eleanor Fitzalan (c.1365- 1375), on 28 October 1371, at the age of about six, married Robert de Ufford. Died childless.
3. Lady Elizabeth FitzAlan (1366- 8 Jul 1425), married firstly before 1378, Sir William de Montagu, secondly in 1384, Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, by whom she had four children, thirdly before 19 August 1401, Sir Robert Goushill, by whom she had two daughters, and fourthly before 1411, Sir Gerard Afflete. The Howard Dukes of Norfolk descend from her daughter Margaret Mowbray who married Sir Robert Howard.
4. Lady Joan FitzAlan (1375- 14 Nov 1435), married William de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Bergavenny, by whom she had a son, Richard de Beauchamp, 1st Earl of Worcester and a daughter Joan de Beauchamp, wife of James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormond.
5. Lady Alice Fitzalan (1378- before Oct 1415), married before March 1392, John Cherlton, Lord Cherlton. Had an affair with Cardinal Henry Beaufort, by whom she had an illegitimate daughter, Jane Beaufort.
6. Lady Margaret Fitzalan (1382- after 1423), married Sir Rowland Lenthall, of Hampton Court, Herefordshire, by whom she had two sons.
7. Son Fitzalan (his name is given as either Richard or William).

Elizabeth de Bohun died on 3 April 1385 at the age of about thirty- five. Her husband married secondly Philippa Mortimer on 15 August 1390, by whom he had a son John Fitzalan (1394- after 1397).

Richard Fitzalan was executed by decapitation on 21 September 1397 at Tower Hill Cheapside, London for having committed high treason against King Richard. His titles and estates were attainted until October 1400, when they were restored to his son and heir Thomas Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel by the new king Henry IV who had ascended to the English throne upon the deposition of King Richard in 1399.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

King Bernard

King Bernard, King of Italy Carolingien

Bernard, my 35th great grandfather, (b. 799 Vermandois, Normandy, France; d. 17 April 818 in Milan, Italy) was the king of Italy from 810 to 817, when he was deposed by his uncle Emperor Louis the Pious. In 818, he was killed by a traumatic blinding procedure, an act of retributive justice for his revolt.

Bernard was the illegitimate son of King Pepin, the third son of the Emperor Charlemagne. In 810, he was made king of Italy. Bernard married Cunigunda of Laon in 813. They had one son, Pepin, Count of Vermandois.

Bernard's uncle, Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Pious gave Italy to his eldest son Lothair when the empire was partitioned among his three sons in 817.[1] Feeling his position was in endangered, Bernard rebelled against his uncle with the support of Bishop Theodulf of Orléans. Bernard met with the emperor on a safe conduct guarantee, but was convicted before even realising he was on trial. Louis had Bernard blinded and imprisoned. The blinding procedure was so traumatic that he died as a result.[2] His death grieved Louis, and his display of penance to the court in 822 at Attigny reduced his prestige and respect amongst the Frankish nobility.

In 810, Pepin died from an illness contracted at a siege of Venice; although Bernard was illegitimate, Charlemagne allowed him to inherit Italy. Bernard married Cunigunda of Laon in 813. They had one son, Pepin, Count of Vermandois.

Prior to 817, Bernard was a trusted agent of his grandfather, and of his uncle. His rights in Italy were respected, and he was used as an intermediary to manage events in his sphere of influence - for example, when in 815 Louis the Pious received reports that some Roman nobles had conspired to murder Pope Leo III, and that he had responded by butchering the ringleaders, Bernard was sent to investigate the matter.

A change came in 817, when Louis the Pious drew up an Ordinatio Imperii, detailing the future of the Frankish Empire. Under this, the bulk of the Frankish territory went to Louis' eldest son, Lothair; Bernard received no further territory, and although his Kingship of Italy was confirmed, he would be a vassal of Lothair. This was, it was later alleged, the work of the Empress, Ermengarde, who wished Bernard to be displaced in favour of her own sons. Resenting Louis' actions, Bernard began plotting with a group of magnates: Eggideo, Reginhard, and Reginhar, the last being the grandson of a Thuringian rebel against Charlemagne, Hardrad. Anshelm, Bishop of Milan and Theodulf, Bishop of Orléans, were also accused of being involved: there is no evidence either to support or contradict this in the case of Theodulf, whilst the case for Anshelm is murkier.

Bernard's main complaint was the notion of his being a vassal of Lothair. In practical terms, his actual position had not been altered at all by the terms of the decree, and he could safely have continued to rule under such a system. Nonetheless, "partly true" reports came to Louis the Pious that his nephew was planning to set up an 'unlawful' - i.e. independent - regime in Italy.

Louis the Pious reacted swiftly to the plot, marching south to Chalon. Bernard and his associates were taken by surprise; Bernard travelled to Chalon in an attempt to negotiate terms, but he and the ringleaders were forced to surrender to him. Louis had them taken to Aix-la-Chapelle, where they were tried and condemned to death. Louis 'mercifully' commuted their sentences to blinding, which would neutralise Bernard as a threat without actually killing him; however, the process of blinding (carried out by means of pressing a red-hot stiletto to the eyeballs) proved so traumatic that Bernard died in agony two days after the procedure was carried out. At the same time, Louis also had his half-brothers Drogo, Hugh and Theoderic tonsured and confined to monasteries, to prevent other Carolingian off-shoots challenging the main line. He also treated those guilty or suspected of conspiring with Bernard treated harshly: Theodulf of Orleans was gaoled, and died soon afterwards; the lay conspirators were blinded, the clerics deposed and imprisoned; all lost lands and honours, his Kingdom of Italy was reabsorbed into the Frankish empire, and soon after bestowed upon Louis' eldest son Lothair.

In 822, Louis made a display of public penance at Attigny, where he confessed before all the court to having sinfully slain his nephew; he also welcomed his half-brothers back into his favour. These actions possibly stemmed from guilt over his part in Bernard's death. It has been argued by some historians that his behaviour left him open to clerical domination, and reduced his prestige and respect amongst the Frankish nobility. Others, however, point out that Bernard's plot had been a serious threat to the stability of the kingdom, and the reaction no less a threat; Louis' display of penance, then, "was a well-judged gesture to restore harmony and re-establish his authority."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving in Truckee with Toni, Hunter (yes, he's still eating) and Marley

Sunday, November 18, 2012

...heading to Truckee for Thanksgiving with my sister

...Toni and me at home in Running Springs, California circa 1949

Ragnar Lodbrok...snake bit and singing

Ragnar Lodbrok, my 37th great grandfather was a Viking king who claimed to be a direct descendant of the god Odin. One of his favorite strategies was to attack Christian cities on holy feast days, knowing that many soldiers would be in church.His titles included King of Sweden and King of Denmark. He was at one point to be married to the infamous female Viking Lathgertha. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Ragnar was said to be the father of three sons, Halfdan, Inwaer (Ivar the Boneless), and Hubba (Ubbe), who led a Viking invasion of East Anglia in 865 seeking to avenge Ragnar's murder.

Ragnar Lodbrok (Ragnar "Hairy-Breeks", Old Norse: Ragnarr Loðbrók) was a Norse legendary hero from the Viking Age who was thoroughly reshaped in Old Norse poetry and legendary sagas.

The namesake and subject of “Ragnar’s Saga”, and one of the most popular Viking heroes among the Norse themselves, Ragnar was a great Viking commander and the scourge of France and England. A perennial seeker after the Danish throne, he was briefly ‘king’ of both Denmark and a large part of Sweden. A colorful figure, he claimed to be descended from Odin, was linked to two famous shieldmaidens, Lathgertha in the Gesta Danorum, and Queen Aslaug according to the Volsunga Saga.

He told people he always sought greater adventures for fear that his (possibly adoptive) sons who included such notable Vikings as Björn Ironside and Ivar the Boneless would eclipse him in fame and honor. Ragnar raided France many times, using the rivers as highways for his fleets of longships. By remaining on the move, he cleverly avoided battles with large concentrations of heavy Frankish cavalry, while maximizing his advantages of mobility and the general climate of fear of Viking unpredictability. His most notable raid was probably the raid upon Paris in 845 AD, which was spared from burning only by the payment of 7,000 lbs of silver as danegeld by Charles the Bald. To court his second wife, the Swedish princess Thora, Ragnar traveled to Sweden and quelled an infestation of venomous snakes, famously wearing the hairy breeches whereby he gained his nickname. He continued the series of successful raids against France throughout the mid 9th century, and fought numerous civil wars in Denmark, until his luck ran out at last in Britain. After being shipwrecked on the English coast during a freak storm, he was captured by Anglian king Ælla of Northumbria and put to death in an infamous manner by being thrown into a pit of vipers.

As King Ælle's men were preparing to throw Ragnar Lodbrok into a pit of vipers, he sang this song: "It gladdens me to know that Balder’s father makes ready the benches for a banquet. Soon we shall be drinking ale from the curved horns. The champion who comes into Odin’s dwelling does not lament his death. I shall not enter his hall with words of fear upon my lips. The Æsir will welcome me. Death comes without lamenting… Eager am I to depart. The Dísir summon me home, those whom Odin sends for me from the halls of the Lord of Hosts. Gladly shall I drink ale in the high-seat with the Æsir. The days of my life are ended. I laugh as I die."

After he was thrown into the pit and slowly dying from the poisonous bites of the vipers, Ragnar exclaimed: "How the little pigs would grunt if they knew the situation of the old boar!" These words would prove prophetic. A year later, upon learning of their father's cruel murder at the hands of King Aelle, Ragnar's sons Ivar and Ubbe crossed the North Sea leading the Great Heathen Army. They sacked Jorvik (York), captured King Aelle, and subjected him to the Viking traditional vengeance of Rista Blodorn ("Blood Eagle"). The Rista Blodorn is performed by cutting away the ribs from the spine, pulling the ribs open so they resemble the spread wings of an eagle, pulling out the lungs and coating them in salt so that the victim endures scalding agony while suffocating to death.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Viking-Maya the possibilities

While doing genealogy on the Bengston side (Aaron and Josh's mother), I was thinking about the conquistadors and their reception by the Aztec. Were they waiting for the Vikings to return? Not much on this subject, but it really sturs the imagination.

The Legend of Quetazlcoatl

The Quetzalcoatl legend is known throughout Mesoamerica . Some legends refer to Quetzalcoatl as a god, others a stranger from a distant land who sailed to their shores upon a “magic raft of serpents."

The feathered serpent god is commonly referred to as Quetzalcoatl. The name Quetzalcoatl has Toltec/Aztec origins. A series of invasions by the Toltecs, which led to a blending of cultures, introduced the feathered serpent god to the Mayas, where he was later referred to as Kukulcan.

Two male heroes similar to the god Quetzalcoatl appear in Mayan lore. Itzamna and Kukulcan were both portrayed as bearded men who led their ancestors into the Yucatan. Itazmna was known as a guide who helped build up the great cities and who invented the letters that make up the Mayan language. Kukulcan, was referred to as a great architect, a builder of pyramids.

Could all of these legends be based on one real person? And could that person have been a Norseman?

The Murals

A red-bearded man’s likeness appears on many stone carvings in the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, Copan, Honduras, and other places in Latin America. There are also murals depicting bearded warriors dressed in armor and helmets which could be relating an account of a foreign invasion by some ancient people.

Early Viking Voyages

It has been established that both Eric the Red and Leif Erickson reached the New World 500 years before Columbus. To date, the only truly authenticated Viking site is L’Anse aux Meadows, at the northern tip of Newfoundland, where the remains of Norse-style dwellings and artifacts have been found.

The Lost Viking Ship

Around 967 AD, it was recorded that a Viking ship led by Ullmann on the way to Iceland was driven by strong ocean currents and blown off course. Could this ship have ended up in Central America?

Was such a Voyage Possible?

The likelihood that Vikings may have touched upon Caribbean shores was not given much credibility because it was believed such a voyage would not have possible. Then, in 1947, Thor Heyerdahl tested the possibility by recreating a reed boat using materials such as the Vikings, Phoenicians and other cultures would have used at that time. The Kon Tiki’s voyage of over 4,300 miles proved that ancient navigators could have sailed much farther than originally believed.

A link between the Vikings and the early cultures of the Yucatan and Central America has never been proven. If Viking artifacts ever existed, they have been lost with the passage of time. If the Vikings ever did visit Central America, the only traces left are the curious images of a red-bearded man caved in stone.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 with balls

...with only driftwood, trash and expired food from the supermarket, these two Vikings spent 9 months snowboarding and surfing north of the Artic Circle...BIG BALLS BOYS

...well, it does

...classic beauties

Francisco Vasquez De Coronado...another explorer in the family

Most of you who will read about our family will say that I'm making up all these famous members of our two families up. Sorry, but genealogy doesn't lie, so test it for yourself. We may be a "poor" family now, but our wealth is in "experience".

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado y Luján (Aaron and Joshua's 15th great grandfather) (1510 – 22 September 1554) was a Spanish conquistador, who visited New Mexico and other parts of what are now the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542. Coronado had hoped to conquer the mythical Seven Cities of Gold.

Coronado was born into a noble family in Salamanca, Spain, in 1510, the second son of Juan Vásquez de Coronado y Sosa de Ulloa and Isabel de Luján. Juan Vásquez held various positions in the administration of the recently captured Emirate of Granada under Iñigo López de Mendoza, its first Spanish governor.

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado went to Mexico in 1535 at about age 25, in the entourage of its first Viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza, the son of his father's patron who had died. In Mexico, he married Beatriz de Estrada, called the Saint (la Santa), sister of Leonor de Estrada, ancestor of the de Alvarado family and daughter of Treasurer and Governor Alonso de Estrada y Hidalgo, Lord of Picón, and wife Marina Flores Gutiérrez de la Caballería, from a converso Jewish family. Coronado inherited a large portion of a Mexican estate from Beatriz and had eight children by her.

Coronado was the Governor of the Kingdom of Nueva Galicia (New Galicia, a province of New Spain located northwest of Mexico and comprising the contemporary Mexican states of Jalisco, Sinaloa and Nayarit). In 1539, he dispatched Friar Marcos de Niza and Estevanico, more properly known as Estevan, the diminutive form being a Spanish nickname. Estevan was a survivor of the Narváez expedition, on an expedition north from Compostela, in the present state of Nayarit, toward New Mexico. When Marcos de Niza returned, he told about a city of vast wealth, a golden city called Cíbola, and that Estevan had been killed by the Zuni citizens of Cíbola. Though he did not claim to have entered the city of Cíbola, he claimed that the city stood on a high hill, that it appeared wealthy and as large as Mexico City.

Coronado assembled an expedition with two components. One component carried the bulk of the expedition's supplies, and traveled via the Guadalupe River under the leadership of Hernando de Alarcon. The other component traveled by land, along the trail Friar Marcos de Niza had used. Coronado and Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza invested large sums of their own money in the venture. Mendoza, Coronado's friend and fellow investor, appointed him as the commander of the expedition, with the mission to find the seven golden cities. This is the reason he pawned his wife's estates and was lent 70,000 more pesos ($5,630 in today's pesos).

In the autumn of 1539, Viceroy Mendoza ordered Melchor Diaz, the commander of San Miguel de Culiacán, to investigate Friar de Niza's findings, and on November 17, 1539, Diaz departed on the trail to Cíbola, with fifteen horsemen. At the ruins of Chichilticalli, he turned around because of "snows and fierce winds from across the wilderness". Diaz encountered Coronado before he had departed San Miguel de Culiacán, and reported that initial investigations into Friar de Niza's report disproved the existence of a bountiful land. Diaz' report was delivered to Viceroy Mendoza on March 20, 1540.

Coronado set out from Compostela on February 23, 1540, at the head of a large expedition composed of about 400 European men-at-arms (mostly Spaniards), 1,300 to 2,000 Mexican Indian allies, four Franciscan monks (the most notable of whom were Juan de Padilla and the newly appointed provincial superior of the Franciscan order in the New World, Marcos de Niza), and several slaves, both natives and Africans. There also were many other family members and servants.

He followed the Sinaloan coast northward, keeping the Sea of Cortez to his left until he reached the northernmost Spanish settlement, San Miguel de Culiacán, about March 28, 1540, whereupon he rested his expedition before they began trekking the inland trail on April 22, 1540.[6] Aside from Diaz's mission to verify Fray de Niza's report, he also took notice of the forage and food situation along the trail, and he reported that the land along the route would not be able to support a large concentrated body of soldiers and animals. Coronado decided to divide his expedition into small groups and time their departures so that grazing lands and water holes along the trail could recover. At intervals along the trail, Coronado established camps and garrisoned soldiers to keep the supply route open. For example, in September, 1540, Melchior Diaz along with "seventy or eighty of the weakest and least reliable men" in Coronado's army remained at the town of San Hieronimo, in the valley of Corazones, or Hearts.[7] Once the scouting and planning was done, Coronado led the first group of soldiers up the trail. They were horsemen and foot soldiers who were able to travel quickly, while the main bulk of the expedition would set out later.

After "leaving Culiacan on April 22, Coronado followed the coast, "bearing off to the left," as Mota Padilla says, by an extremely rough way, to the Sinaloa. The configuration of the country made it necessary to follow up the valley of this stream until he could find a passage across the mountains to the course of the Yaquimi. He traveled alongside this stream for some distance, then crossed to Sonora river. The Sonora was followed nearly to its source before a pass was discovered. On the southern side of the mountains he found a stream he called the Nexpa, which may have been either the Santa Cruz or the Pedro of modern maps. The party followed down this river valley until they reached the edge of the wilderness, where, as Friar Marcos had described it to them, they found Chichilticalli.[8] Chichilticalli is in southern Arizona in the Sulfur Springs Valley, within the bend of the Dos Cabeza and Chiricahua Mountains. This fits the chronicle of Laus Deo description, which reports that "at Chichilticalli the country changes its character again and the spiky vegetation ceases. The reason is that . . . the mountain chain changes its direction at the same time that the coast does. Here they had to cross and pass the mountains in order to get into the level country."[9] There he met a crushing disappointment. Cíbola was nothing like the great golden city that Marcos had described. Instead, it was just a complex of simple pueblos constructed by the Zuni Indians. The soldiers were upset with Marcos for his mendacious imagination, so Coronado sent him back to Mexico in disgrace.

It should be noted that the accompaning map has become outdated since it was created. On-the-ground research strongly indicates that Coronado traveled north between Chichiticalli and Zuni primarily on the New Mexico side of the state line, not the Arizona side as has been thought since the 1940s. Also, most scholars believe Quivira was near the great bend of the Arkansas river, about 60 miles southwest of the location on the Kansas River depicted on the map.
Conquest of Cíbola

Coronado traveled north on one side or the other of today's Arizona-New Mexico state line, and from the headwaters of the Little Colorado he continued on until he came to the Zuni River. He followed the Zuni until he found the region inhabited by the Zunis. The members of the expedition were almost starving and demanded entrance into the village of Hawikuh, which the Zuni spell as Hawikku. The natives refused, denying the expedition entrance to the village. Coronado and his expeditionaries attacked the Zunis. The ensuing skirmish constituted the extent of what can be called the Spanish "Conquest of Cíbola." During the battle, Coronado was injured. During the weeks the expedition stayed at Zuni, he sent out several scouting more:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stewart, Drummond, Sinclair and Christopher Columbus

While reading "The Lost Colony of the Templars: Verranzano's Secret Mission to America" I was amazed to see connections between the Bengston's (Aaron and Josh's mother) and the Mason's. The Bengston side goes back to Christopher Columbus (17th great grandfather), and the Mason's (Stewart) goes back to Henry Sinclair (19th great grandfather), Lord of the Orkney Islands. Henry's daughter Elizabeth married John Drummond, uniting two of Scotland's most powerful families. John was nephew of Annabelle Drummond (18th great grandmother) who married Robert III Stewart (18th great grandfather), King of Scotland. John's son John moved to Madeira (an island in the Atlantic off the coast of Afica) and married into the Perestrello family, and was know as John the Scotsman (Escorcio). Columbus married Doña Felipa Perestrello (17th great grandmother) in 1479 uniting the families. This is a part of history that I'm studying now and will let you know what I find out later.